Knitting Needle Organization

Warning this post is long on detail and how-to as well as photos.  If you aren't sewing inclined you might want to skip reading down to the very bottom where I talk about sewing alternatives (or skip it altogether if you are knitting inclined either).

A couple months ago, I got frustrated with the state of my needle drawer.  I was looking for a needle I swore I had but could not find it.  So I pulled out Stitch n Bitch and looked at their instructions for an organizer.  At one time I thought I was all about the needle roll, but then I realized I don't want to carry all my needles with me all the time.  Plus I prefer circular needles and the less kinks in them the better (of course my bryspuns don't have kinks in the first place).  Anyway, I didn't like the idea of attaching the needle organizer to a clothes hanger but did like the hanging aspect.  I also thought the directions were fiddly, so I didn't follow them, just used the finished size as a guideline for my work.

What I did
I cut two pieces of fabric twice the width needed (plus seam allowances), two pieces of peltex craft interfacing the length & width of my finished product.  I seamed each fabric rectangle once along the long edge for a tube, turned it right-side and centered the seam.  Then I pulled the peltex into each flattened tube.  If your fabric is heavier than the lightweight eyelet I used you might not need interfacing (or be able to use a lighter fusible interfacing).

I put both pieces together interior-sides together (so the seams were on the inside) and did a small seam on the top & bottom (short edges).  Then I flipped it inside out (so the exterior sides faced each other) and seamed the top and bottom again to enclose the raw edges.  I flipped it right-side out again and marked my seams for each circular needle size slot and stitched those, then spent a long time hiding the thread ends.  Finally I used a couple thumb tacks to hang it on the wall and inserted my needles.  Officially this still needs the needle sizes to be labeled.  I am looking for the right buttons to do that (or maybe I'll break down and make them, or get lazy and find a fabric marker).

Circulars Organizer step 1Circulars Organizer photo #2Circulars Organizer photo #3Circulars Organizer photo #4Circulars Organizer photo #5

I also made a DPN roll.  I know I said I don't like the idea of needle rolls, but I realized that this could be stored with my yarn stash.  The goal is to condense the knitting supplies into this one box.  I think that is just so the sewing supplies can take-over, but that is another story. Plus I also had these two fabulous fat quarters that I was itching to use.

What I did (apologies, I forgot to take photos)
This time I grabbed a bit of freezer paper and laid out all my dpns (in the packaging) and basically traced them onto the freezer paper (lining them up on a bottom straight line, and making sure they fit within the width of my fabric) to figure out how tall the finished needle roll should be.  Then I cut out an exterior fabric, an interior fabric, a pocket fabric (same size as the exterior & interior but then I folded it in half), interfacing for the pocket, interfacing for the body, an exterior flap, and an interior flap (these were about half the height and the same width as the exterior/interior pieces).

I ironed on some interfacing to the pocket piece, then folded it in half along the longer axis and ironed it*.  I ironed interfacing to the wrong side of my interior fabric and placed the pocket on the right side, lining up the bottom edges.  At this point I used a erasable fabric marker and made the lines for my pocket stitches; Go ahead and seam the very ends too, this makes the final step easier.  It took a little bit of figuring on the freezer to paper to get the distances right.  I made the pockets for the smaller needles smaller than the larger needles.  Once this was done I pulled the threads through to the wrong side and knotted them. 

Setting the main piece aside I put the two flap pieces together (right sides together as is Standard Operating Procedure) and seamed up three side, leaving one long side open for turning it right-side out.  Turn this right side out and iron it.  If you have a directional pattern for one or more of your fabrics make sure that the open edge is at the top of fabric pattern.

Now you make a fabric sandwich.  The bottom layer is the interior piece with pockets (wrong side on the table, right side visible).  On top of this lay your flap making sure its raw top edge is lined up and centered along the interior's top raw edge.  You want your exterior flap fabric to face out (be visible); if you are worried about catching the short edges when you sew the side seams you .  Finally you place your exterior piece on top of these pieces, wrong side down and making sure all the edges line up nicely.  Pin this together.  You should not see any of the right-side of the fabric just the wrong side.  Starting seaming this together.  You will first place your needle around the 3/4-of-the-way on the short side of your fabric sandwich, turn at the corner, seam one long side, turn at the corner, seam the other short side, turn at the corner, seam the other long side, turn at the corner and seam about 1/4 of the original short side.  Don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and the end.  This should leave an opening about 1/2 the width of the short side which allows you to turn your sandwich right-side out.  Don't forget to trim your corners before turning it right-side out.  You might want to use a chopstick or something to poke the corners out nicely.  You might tug gently on the flap and then iron everything.  I hand stitched the opening shut, but if you wanted to you could top-stitch around the entire thing to close it. 

Now I made a fabric strip and added velcro to it for my closure but you could use a wide ribbon (or ahead of time add buttons/snaps/velco at the appropriate spots on the exterior fabric).  I also embroidered the needle sizes on the pockets after sewing this together; I bet it would be easier to do before you sew it together, but after you mark the pocket stitching lines.  I put some notes on my flickr photos and can try to draw up some diagrams if my written instructions are confusing (and diagrams are requested).

DPN needle rollDPN needle rollDPN needle roll

Oddly enough I just found a thread on the Ravelry forums devoted to needle organization, several people have linked to some great products, and other peoples included directions for their versions of these things.  Major knitting vendors have such products, as do many etsy sellers and then some people re-purpose office supplies like binders, pencil pouches, CD binders (or binder inserts) and Kraft filing envelopes.  I know I'm not the first blogger to write up her descriptions on how to make these things either.

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January 22, 2008. Tags: , , . Thoughts.

3 Comments

  1. yarnlibrarian replied:

    They look great! I love the dpn roll fabric.

  2. AnotherYarn replied:

    I found the fabric in the 99 cent fat quarter bin at JoAnns. I thought of you when I found it, but, erm, couldn't bear to give it up myself. Last week I saw a bolt of it at another fabric store and discovered it is a Michael Miller print. I can try to pick up some yardage for you if you like.

  3. Circular needles: organised! | La Creature and you replied:

    […] hanging organiser by Anotheryarn Crafts […]

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